KARACHI: Many people across the country received text messages called ‘Corona Alert’ in which they were informed that they had been contacted by a coroner affected person and had been directed to take necessary precautions.
The message alert reads, “It has been observed that you may have been exposed to a corona virus case over the last 14 days, so you are being requested to take urgent precautions. ‘.
According to the Dawn newspaper, the message also directed the public to go to a nearby treatment facility for fever, cough, shortness of breath and body aches.
Talking to Dawn, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) officials confirmed that the messages were genuine and were only being sent to select persons, whose respective authorities were screened and identified.
A press release issued by the PTA after contacting Dawn said that the Ministry of Health is sending SMS alerts to people who may have been contacted by Corona victims while traveling and elsewhere.
The initiative is being implemented by the government’s Digital Pakistan program, which relies on mobile phone tracking systems.
The system works by identifying locations for corona virus-certified patients over the past 14 days.
When a phone owner is confirmed to be affected by Covd 19, authorities record its recent movements and inform the owners of other phones they are exposed to of the virus and suggest self-isolation. ۔
In this regard, Tania Ederos, Head of Digital Pakistan, told Dawn, “We are working with telecommunication providers and PTA to identify more and more people who are at risk for health support.” Using all possible types of data sources’.
In the absence of any explanation from the government, various concerns could not be resolved, such as how to select a vulnerable person.
According to many consumers, only one family member received this type of alert despite being in the same house, while rights activists wondered where this data would be stored.
Tania Eros did not specify what public data is being used to identify individuals, saying that what we are doing is to prevent the virus and that the alert is not intended to spread chaos. But to encourage precautionary measures ”.
How are people being identified?
It is important to note that the location of the mobile phone can be recorded in a number of ways, such as the location of which tower the mobile SIM companies connect to which phone can provide location data using Cell Site Location Information (CSLI). Are.
When traveling through mobile phone towers, the network records various things in the form of call data records (CDRS) such as calls, SMS and data usage as well as time and place.
The Chief Minister of Punjab’s Focal Person for Digital Media said in a Twitter message that the government was using the CDR method to find links.
Pakistan is not the only country using technology to fight the Corona virus.
Singapore introduces an application to find contacts for mobile phones so that authorities can identify people who have been exposed to the Corona virus.
Taiwan, on the other hand, has activated a feature called electronic fan or electric fence that alerts authorities by tracking their cellphone data if a person who needs to be in Quarantine and leaves the house.